Chancellor could topple UK Clean Revolution leadership

4 October 2011

LONDON: George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom, has said that the UK will weaken its ambitious climate targets if Europe does not follow suit, putting the UK in danger of missing its chance to lead the Clean Revolution.

Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester yesterday, in a tense intervention the Chancellor said that the UK’s leading environmental regulations could harm the economy, by swelling energy costs for businesses.

The Chancellor said that if the UK cuts carbon emissions faster than other EU countries, it will put the country’s economy at a disadvantage: "We're not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business. So let's at the very least resolve that we're going to cut our carbon emissions no slower but also no faster than our fellow countries in Europe."

George Osborne’s speech implies that the UK’s carbon reduction targets could be weakened if the EU does not agree more ambitious targets too, meaning that the UK could miss out on leading the Clean Revolution. His comments could also affect the confidence of global businesses in initiating their lead in the low carbon economy race. 

His statement will undoubtedly be met with resistance from leading green businesses and NGOs though, not to mention the UK’s Climate Change Act, whereby the government is legally committed to cutting emissions by 34% by 2020, and at least 80% by 2050.

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, says of the Chancellor’s vows: ‘The UK is on the tipping-point of leading the Clean Revolution. George Osborne’s latest pledge to avoid adopting green policies until the rest of Europe catches up is a major step back, and will mean that the UK is giving away its leadership opportunity to other competing countries such as China, India and the US.’

Read more about the UK's Climate Change Act or visit DECC


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